Silicon Snake Oil
Second Thoughts on the Information Highway
By Clifford Stoll
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780385419949, 256pp.)
Publication Date: March 1, 1996
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In Silicon Snake Oil, Clifford Stoll, the best-selling author of The Cuckoo's Egg and one of the pioneers of the Internet, turns his attention to the much-heralded information highway, revealing that it is not all it's cracked up to be. Yes, the Internet provides access to plenty of services, but useful information is virtually impossible to find and difficult to access. Is being on-line truly useful? "Few aspects of daily life require computers...They're irrelevant to cooking, driving, visiting, negotiating, eating, hiking, dancing, speaking, and gossiping. You don't need a computer to...recite a poem or say a prayer." Computers can't, Stoll claims, provide a richer or better life.
A cautionary tale about today's media darling, Silicon Snake Oil has sparked intense debate across the country about the merits--and foibles--of what's been touted as the entranceway to our future.
"Internet enthusiasts would do well to heed [Stoll's] advice: Proceed with caution and keep an eye on the rear-view mirror."--Business Week
"Just in case everyone is getting too carried away with the apparent wonders of the computer age, Clifford Stoll is here with a warning...There may be roadblocks up ahead." --The New York Times
"Snake Oil is a manifesto. It comes at a propitious time; the on-line world has been hyped beyond recognition...Few people have more impressive credentials to trash the Internet than Stoll." --Washington Post